Pittsburgh recruiting analysis


The class

2011 signees: 20

Top prospects: Outside linebacker Nicholas Grigsby has the speed and range to make plays, though not the bulk yet. Malcolm Crockett has good size and strength for a running back. Sam Collura looks like a strong blocking tight end, though at 6-foot-3 he has less than ideal height for the position.

Needs met: Pitt is changing from a somewhat conservative pro-style offense into a more wide-open, speed-based attack under new coach Todd Graham. So the Panthers needed players to fit that mold. It's no surprise they got five players currently listed at running back, since Ray Graham is the only experienced tailback on the roster and those players can easily move to other positions. Graham also added some speed at wide receiver and defensive back, while Grigsby could help shore up the linebacking unit.

Analysis: Last summer, Pitt had the top class in the Big East and one of the top 25 in America. But after Dave Wannstedt was forced to resign, the class fell apart, and several players ended up going elsewhere, with a few landing at rival Rutgers. Graham wasn't hired until January after the Mike Haywood fiasco, so he was operating with one hand behind his back. Given all the problems, he did a good job in piecing a respectable class together, though this doesn't match the star-studded recruiting classes of years past for Pitt, at least on paper.

What Graham said: "It has been challenging, but that is what makes this business so great. The foundation of our program is to bring men of great character into the program. But, when you start talking about personnel, our philosophy is one that is very unique so we're not real concerned about rankings, we're not real concerned about what everybody else is doing. We're concerned about our unique philosophy and our unique approach. We look for character, work ethic, discipline, and those are the characteristics you are going to find in this class."

ESPN recruiting grade: C